Hannah Fox feels she was quite young when she studied Fine Art at Monash University. ‘I absolutely loved the course, as it opened up my mind. At the same time, it made me utterly petrified!’ the artist recalls.
After graduating, Hannah furthered her design studies, ran an events business, and worked as a graphic designer and gallery assistant, before she eventually found her way back to the paintbrush. Her circuitous path has made her a well-rounded artist; Hannah loves to lose herself in the act of painting, but maintains a grounded sense of the big picture, by embracing the business side of being an indie creative.
The artist paints from her backyard home studio in Northcote, Melbourne – her husband Dave surrendered his chance for a shed, and instead renovated the property’s old garage to provide Hannah with a bright and functional workspace! Apparently, Hannah did allocate two-square-metres of space (sometimes mistaken as merely a ‘cupboard’) for Dave’s tools!
As a mother of a trio of young boys, Hannah’s studio time is limited to three sessions a week. ‘I’m pretty disciplined with my work. After a mad morning of school and kinder drop-offs, I ignore the domestic delights of running a busy household, and head straight to the studio!’ Working predominantly with oils on canvas, Hannah’s work is deeply intuitive. ‘I have learned that I make better art if I trust my instinct and let go of reservations. This has resulted in my abstract approach.’
Hannah’s painting is particularly informed by her recollections of bush landscapes. Her impressionistic style is evocative of dappled sunlit earth, peeling bark on tree trunks, and the leaves that scatter the bush floor. ‘I use paint to explore the contrasts of nature – light and dark, bright and muted, smooth and rough. Using a combination of palette knife and brush to render the compositions, I both control the medium and allow an element of serendipity.’ She explains.
Her new body of work, ‘Faraway,’ sees the artist further develop her ideas of ‘sensing’ a space rather than merely viewing it. The title refers to both physical places that one escapes to, and faraway thoughts or reflective headspace. For Hannah, this headspace is often found on regular wanders along her local Merri Creek, so she is donating two per cent of all exhibition proceeds to the local environmental organisation, Friends of Merri Creek.